Earnings: Target

Target Profit Rises 12 Percent

Target Corp.'s (TGT) profit rose 12 percent in the first quarter on rising revenue from its stores and credit card operations, the nation's second-largest discount retailer said on Monday.

Target said it earned $554 million, or 63 cents per share, for the quarter ended April 29, up from $494 million, or 55 cents per share, during the same period last year.

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First-quarter revenue rose 12.1 percent to $12.86 billion, from $11.5 billion a year ago.

Sales rose 5.1 percent at stores open at least a year, a key retail barometer.

Target's credit card operation added $162 million to earnings before taxes, which was an increase of $60 million, or almost 60 percent, from the same period last year.

Target said its credit card profits grew because of higher interest income and the short-term benefit of expenses for bad debts because many people rushed to file for bankruptcy before the rules changed last fall.

"Our performance underlies our confidence that we will continue to generate profitable market share growth and reinforces our belief in our ability to achieve a mid-teen percentage increase in EPS for the full year 2006," said Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Ulrich.

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